The Catholic University of America

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Major In Hispanic Studies

The Major in Hispanic Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the Spanish-speaking world. It is designed to provide students with a solid background in the cultural history of Latin America, Spain and the Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States. Students combine language, culture and practical skills courses in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures with a practical immersion experience in a Spanish-speaking country. Students are encouraged to supplement their studies with courses dealing with the Spanish-speaking world in areas such as Anthropology, Art, Drama, History, Media Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and Theology and Religious Studies.

Required Courses (8 courses / 24 credits)


SPAN 203 or 210  Advanced Conversation and Composition I or Spanish for Heritage Speakers I
SPAN 204 or 211  Advanced Conversation and Composition II or Spanish for Heritage Speakers II 

(Note: Students placing out of 204 or 211 add 2 elective courses) 


SPAN 300  Thinking Critically: Literature, Film, and Media in the Spanish-Speaking World
SPAN 301 Society and Culture in the Spanish-Speaking World 

(Note: 300 and 301 can be taken out of sequence)


SPAN 401/402/485/495 One practical skills course: Spanish for Business, Translation, Legal Translation 
and Interpretation, Internship 
SPAN 408/412/425/448 Two content research seminars 
SPAN 489*  Research Seminar II: Senior Essay

*Students in 489 also register for 498, Senior Comprehensives.  The comprehensives consist of an evaluation of the written senior essay (completed in Span 489) and an oral presentation of that paper.  A faculty panel evaluates both components.

Electives (4 courses / 12 credits)

− Courses at the 300 level and higher taught at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures or transferred from study abroad.
− One of these courses may be a 200-level course taught in English at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, a transfer course, or a course in another disciplines. This course must be pre-approved by the advisor.

Education Abroad

− Hispanic Studies Majors are required to spend a semester studying abroad in a Spanish speaking country.
− All credits earned abroad are eligible for transfer if the student is enrolled in affiliated programs. SPAN 300, SPAN 489, and at least one 400-level content research seminar must be taken at CUA.
− Under special circumstances may students petition that the study abroad requirement be waived. In these cases the department will consider summer abroad programs, approved cultural immersion experiences, or internships instead.

Free Electives and Distribution Courses

- Hispanic Studies Majors are strongly advised to complete the course work for either the Certificate in European Studies or the Certificate in Latin American and Latino Studies.
- Students are also strongly encouraged to add minors or a second major in related disciplines, such as Art, Drama, History, International Business, Media Studies, Philosophy, or Politics.

Contact: Dr. McMahon (